Monday, July 31, 2006

the (hot) dog days of August

Is it hot where you live? If you live in the Northern Hemisphere of the Americas, chances are good that it is.

Here in Indianapolis, it's 83F at 12:30 am but the heat index (Canadians call it the humidex) makes it feel like 91F. The sun has been down for a few hours now, and it's still in the 80's. Granted, we're not as far north as Wisconsin and North Dakota here so this isn't terribly shocking temperatures, but we certainly ain't in the Deep South, are we ya'll?

Currently in Panama City, where one of my sisters lives, it's 81F. Call me crazy, but I think it's a bit unusual for it to be hotter in Indiana than it is in Florida. Panama City will climb to 91F later today, but Indianapolis will reach 94F. Bizarre, no? But, that's August in the Midwest for you.

Maybe we should listen to Al Gore talk about global warming....

new home-owner

I'm about to purchase a home. A real home. Not just some rental that somebody else actually owns. My own home.

Thus far in the 35 years that I have been on earth, I have lived in:
  • my parents' home
  • a college dormitory
  • a house with three - and then five - other guys
  • back to my parents' home
  • my first apartment with my wife (incredibly small - some would say cozy - but great)
  • the Ronald McDonald House (we didn't even have children at the time...)
  • two more apartments (one in Oak Park, IL; one in Indianapolis)
  • a college dormitory, again (I was an employee of the college, okay? I wasn't a student)
  • yet another apartment
  • a rented house

I am filled with excitement at the thought of my own place, but frightened as well. I keep thinking bizarre thoughts. What if something happens? What if the house is struck by lightning? What if we have a flood, even though we're nowhere near a flood zone? What if I lose my job on the day we move in? What if a million ants decide that my house would make a better dwelling place than some hole in the ground?

Surely I can't be the only one with these kind of anxieties. Can I?

Jesus was my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

You know, some people take The Da Vinci Code way too seriously...

Kathleen McGowan has authored a book in which she claims she's a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
‘When I was young, I remembered an old, eccentric uncle who would tell us we were descended from the most noble families in France.’ Kathleen pauses and adds triumphantly: ‘Now I know exactly what he meant.’

Could there be a physical resemblance? By now, Kathleen is firmly in her stride. ‘Yes, I do stand in front of the mirror sometimes and see the similarities between myself and Mary Magdalene. I’m small — just five foot.

My hair is strawberry blonde and my eyes are green, although not the amazing shade of hazel which I saw in my dream. But there are definitely certain elements which we share.’

the end, or the not-yet?

What's a Christian to think about the latest trouble in the Middle East? Is it a sign of the end of days, or just another conflict that will eventually end?

John Piper of Desiring God Ministries wrote an article over two years ago, Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East.

Author Tim LaHaye, co-writer of the Left Behind series, answers in the affirmative to the question, Are These the End Times?'s Patton Dodd takes on some questions in Beliefwatch: The End?

Jack Kinsella believes The Time Shall Come.

Pastor Mark Daniels knows about a great thing to do when someone asks What Should Christians Do in Response to the Current World Crisis?

Psalm 92:12 (NASB): The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Habbakuk 2:17 (ESV): The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Chihuly glass

Here are two more shots from the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

the human element of "Star Trek: First Contact"

I'm watching a non-recent movie at my in-law's home in Danville, Illinois. It is 1996's Star Trek: First Contact, the movie where the Next Generation folks truly left the land of TV and came into their own. It's somewhat nerdy to watch this movie, especially on the Sci-Fi channel (a network tailor-made for nerds). Remember, I'm only 9% nerd.

One of the film's thematic elements involves the transformation of Enterprise crew members into Borg. (If you haven't seen the Star Trek TV show/movies, I really don't have time to help you catch up). The idea of this transformation plays on one of our deepest fears: the loss of our own identity. The Borg do not kill but eradicate the individuality of the person and make him or her part of their own, and they join what is called the Borg Collective. The individual - who can no longer be called that, by the way - has no thoughts or feelings of her own, but is linked with the Collective (also called the Hive).

The Borg Queen tells Data, "I am the beginning, the end... I bring order to chaos..." God-like statements, are they not? And yet, she says herself that she is part of an organization - "I am the Borg." She is part of the Borg, yet somehow apart from the Collective.

As believers, we do not need to fear this kind of loss of identity. The Lord declared to the prophet Jeremiah that before we were conceived in the womb, He knew us. For the Christian, the fact that God knew us and created us is the bedrock of our existence. God formed us, and He set us apart for His divine purpose.

Campi, the EC, and McLaren

Christian recording artist Steve Camp has posted three articles (over at his blog Camp on This) by Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel in Springfield, IL, on the emerging church. You can view them here: 1, 2, and 3. Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA, and a leader in the emerging church, has written a response to those posts, which can be found in the comments sections.

Whether this is a continuing series, I do not know, but Steve has written his own post on another of the leaders of the emerging church, Brian McLaren - read it here. In this post, Steve has some very strong words about McLaren:
Brian McLaren is without doubt the unprecedented leader and poster-child of the Emergent Church/Emerging Church ecumenical postmodern movement within evangelicalism today. He and his minions have challenged two thousand years of orthodox biblical Christianity on its most essential doctrines (the veracity and authority of Scripture; justification by faith alone; imputation of the righteousness of Christ; substitutionary atonement; the omniscience of God, Hell-eternal punishment, etc.) and is winning ground among some evangelicals with his heretical and aberrant beliefs.

In light of this, I would humbly submit the following question that no one in the entire EC ecumenical movement has ever addressed: Why hasn't anyone within the EC ecumenical movement (including conservatives like Mark Driscoll and Dan Kimball) publicly called for the church discipline (Matt. 18:15-20) of Brian McLaren for his aberrant and heretical theological error?
Steve asks an intriguing question, but I don't wish to discuss the merits of it here. My concern is more pragmatic. If some of the leaders of the EC movement did call for church discipline, how would that church discipline be carried out? McLaren is the pastor of the church, so would it be the responsibility of his congregation to carry out the discipline? If his congregation refused to do so, what would happen then?

An aside: If you decide to visit Pastor Gilley's website, you'll want to take note of the staff section of the web page (or just go here). You'll see that his son Brian is the youth pastor. I must admit, I'm always a bit leery of churches where the nepotism is so obvious, as in this case by having the senior pastor's son on the pastoral staff (excepting for churches where the senior pastor's wife is the secretary - I don't mind that). It seems like the pastor think that the church is his own, and he can decide to hire whomever he wants to for other pastoral positions.

Whenever I hear about this scenario, I generally imagine the senior pastor of the church saying to the congregation, "Folks, we've searched high and low for a good man to come and look after our youth, and I think we've found the perfect man for the job. He just so happens to be my direct descendant!" (loud clapping)

mental health crime link studied

The UK (via the BBC) is reporting on a study from Sweden where "18% of murders and attempted murders were committed by people with a mental illness."
Campaigners are split as to whether the number, published in an American Journal of Psychiatry study, is less or more than would have been expected. The study, carried out by researchers from Oxford University's department of psychiatry and Sweden's Karolinska Institute, looked at data from 1988 to 2000. They found there were 45 violent crimes committed per 1,000 inhabitants.

Of these, 2.4 were attributable to patients with severe mental illness, which also includes bipolar disorder (manic depression) and other psychoses. This means that 5.2% of all violent crimes over the period were committed by people with severe mental illness.

I've blogged about this before, way back in February about the tragic story of Jennifer San Marco (here) - that posting includes several more links about this topic.

from blog to TV

The "Anonymous Lawyer" has gone from a blog to a television series.
"Anonymous Lawyer" stems from a Blog Blachman started after a summer internship in New York. Content was fictional, but it caught the attention of publisher Henry Holt, which turned the Harvard Law School grad's Blog into a book.
Interesting that the article writer has capitalized "blog".... And if a blog becomes a book, shouldn't it be called a blook?

Anyway... just remember that if you have a blog, be mindful of what you write because you never know who'll be reading.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

50 Films to See Before You Die

The folks at England's Sunday Mail gathered a panel of experts (including Chariots of Fire producer David Puttnam) to list the 50 Films to See Before You Die. The top five are Apocalypse Now, The Apartment, City of God, Chinatown, and Sexy Beast.

Best-of lists are almost always controversial, and this one is no exception. Where is Star Wars? What about Gone With The Wind? Where is The Godfather, or The Wizard of Oz, or The Lord of the Rings?

Of the films listed, I've seen the following: Apocalpse Now, Chinatown, 2001: A Space Odyssey, North By Northwest, Alien, Lost in Translation, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Erin Brockovich, The Breakfast Club, All About Eve, The Terminator, Manhunter, Raising Arizona, and Secrets & Lies. Thirty-five films to go...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

.... from the "well, duh!" files...

A study (here) has found that children who watch TV while they do homework have much more difficulty retaining the information than those who do not watch.
The study, in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provides a clue as to why it happens.

''What's new is that even if you can learn while distracted, it changes how you learn to make it less efficient and useful,'' said Russell Poldrack, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

That could affect a lot of young people. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation last year found third-graders through 12th-graders devoted, on average, nearly 61/2 hours per day to TV and videos, music, video games and computers.

Did we really need a study to tell us that kids who watch TV while studying have a more difficult time with retention? I guess sometimes you need a study to verify what appears to be common sense.

Monday, July 24, 2006

of mice and murder

There's a city in America that has had 33 homicides in 2006. With the year barely half done, this isn't encouraging news - they could be up to 60 homicides by New Year's Eve. The bizarre thing about this? This is happening in the town that most people associate with what is widely advertised as The Happiest Place on Earth - DisneyWorld.

Why are people killing each other so close to the land of Mickey, Goofy, and Donald?
"People can attribute crime to failing schools, failing families. There's a bunch of sociological things you can put your finger on," said police Sgt. Rich Ring, head of Orlando's homicide investigation unit. "All we can do as police is say the biggest things are drugs and robbery, and we're going to take action to attack those issues." (BrietBart)

This goes to show that even near The Happiest Place on Earth, there are plenty of people who are very unhappy - and apparently willing to kill.

"This is the only final besides the 2004 Wimbledon final that I can say I've played my best tennis and lost."

"Sure I'm disappointed now, but I'm sure I will look back at this week as a success. Hopefully this is a turning point."

Andy Roddick lost the RCA Championship tournament to James Blake in three sets. The tournament was held in Indianapolis, just down the road from me. This is Blake's first win in Indianapolis; Roddick won in 2003, the year he won the U.S. Open.

At age 23, Roddick has one Grand Slam win under his belt. If he isn't careful, he's going to be another Michael Chang - one and done.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

this is news???

MSNBC has decided that former VP Dan Quayle walking out of a John Mellencamp concert because he didn't like what he heard is worthy of attention. See?

Isn't this kind of behavior exactly what people who are against censorship want to see? A person who doesn't like what he's hearing is exercising his right not to listen to it anymore. He's not pushing legislation to ban this kind of talk. He isn't standing up and shouting, "Shut up! You can't talk like that about the president!" He isn't attempting to get the speaker arrested. He isn't calling radio stations to ban all Mellencamp music.

No, Quayle was simply exercising his right to leave after he found something to be offensive. And for that, MSNBC thinks you should know all about it.

fashion advice for Pastor Mark Daniels

I'm not exactly a fashion guru, Pastor Mark, but you can't tell me that you won't be stylin' in this shirt.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

taking your chances with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"

I saw POTC:DMC on Monday - by myself since The Wife hasn't seen the first movie and therefore has no interest in the second film of a planned trilogy. Although the film has received mixed reviews and some found the plot to be "incoherent," I thought it was a good piece of entertainment and the plot was plainly visible. I found the most interesting character to be not Captain Jack Sparrow this time around (although he certainly was the star of the film, and the most intriguing character of POTC:COBP) but Davey Jones, an amazingly developed CGI character voiced by the excellent British actor Bill Nighy.

There are conflicting stories about whether Davey Jones is the devil himself or merely a sailor. He is mostly known for his locker, which lies at the bottom of the ocean. In the Disney movie, Davey (pictured here) is not the devil himself but a cross between a man and an octopus. He does have mastery over the sea, however, and captains the Flying Dutchman. He offers dying sailors the chance to delay their judgment day by serving him for 100 years.

I did not see the broadcast on July 14, but I read a transcript of Bill O'Reilly's interview with Marc Newman about the film. Marc Newman is president of, "a company dedicated to providing pastors and lay leaders with the tools necessary to use movies as a way of reaching out to others with the Gospel of Christ." In the interview, Dr. Newman discusses spirituality in the movie. The full transcript is here.

Mr. Newman correctly perceives one of the main thematic elements of the film to be the wagering of souls to delay judgment day. However, Mr. Newman makes some statments that are worthy of further discussion, so we shall take a look at this.

O'REILLY: All right. So I get it. None of the pirates wants to die because they think they're all going to hell so they're trying to delay the grim reaper. But there isn't any reference outright to Christianity, is there?

NEWMAN: Well, there's a wonderful scene very early in the film where a couple of the pirates are rowing in a boat. They've just escaped from jail. And they used to be these immortal ghosts from the first film, but they have been humanized, as a result of getting their treasure back and having their blood sacrificed, which happens in the first movie. And so the guy is looking at a Bible. Now, he's reading it upside down because he's illiterate. But the guy asks him, he says, "You know, we're not immortal anymore, so now we have to take care of our immortal souls."

O'REILLY: Now do you feel that this was purposely put in this movie? Or is it just, you know, somebody in the screenplay going, "How do I fill this screen?"

NEWMAN: You know, Bill, there's no way to really know, but one thing that I do know is that art has a tendency to transcend the intentions of its makers. And so I think that these stories are the kind of stories that resonate with people. You've seen a million movies where people get shot or cut or stabbed and it doesn't have nearly the resonance as it does when you look at bunch of people who are trembling over the idea of whether or not they're going to their soul.

O'REILLY: Is it their soul or their life? Because nobody wants to die.

NEWMAN: Oh, no, it's their soul. Because there's a great scene early in the film, when Davy Jones is looking at a man. And he's giving them all the opportunity to escape meeting their maker by serving 100 years before the mast on his ship. And one of the young men is holding a rosary in his hand with a cross clearly identified and he looks at him, and he makes the offer. And the guys says, "No, I'd rather take my chances". In other words, in the afterlife he feels secure. So of course, they cut his throat and throw him overboard. But the fact of the matter is, like many Christian martyrs in the past, would rather die than serve on a hellish ship.
I should speak first of the scene of Pintel and Ragetti discussing how they are no longer immortal due to the curse, and Ragetti believes that reading the Bible holds the key to caring for his soul. Think of it: a character in a movie is looking in the Bible for answers as to how to care for his soul. Have you ever seen a movie, that is not overtly Christian, in which something like this takes place? I can not think of one, so if you know of one, please inform me.

The scene with Davey Jones occurs after his ship has battled with a pirate ship, and of course the pirate ship has lost. Davey has offered the survivors (who are all dying) the chance to prolong their life and put off judgment day by serving him for 100 years. One man decided he will "take [his] chances" and die rather than serve Davey.

Inexplicably, Mr. Newman has labeled this man - this pirate - as a person with sense of security. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that a man who says he will take his chances doesn't sound very secure. To take a chance is to take a risk or to gamble. To equate this with security is nonsense. If a man is secure in his beliefs, this means that he knows or believes them to be true - he would not consider his belief as "taking a chance."

Let us consider 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV), which gives a plain understanding of the Gospel:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Isn't this fascinating? This passage claims that Jesus Christ died for our sins, so we can be certain that when we face God on our own personal judgment day, we don't have to say something to Him like, "But, but.... I was a good person! I gave to the Katrina victims, I didn't steal pens from work, and I never cheated on my spouse." We don't have to "take our chances." We can be secure in the knowledge that Christ died for our sins, and so God will accept us as His own because of what Christ has done.

GodBlogCon 2006

I won't be able to attend, but if you have the means and opportunity and you're a Christian who blogs, you should attend. It sounds like it will be a fascinating time. If only they had it in the Midwest...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

a bit of perspective

Sure, Donald Trump must be feeling pretty big right now. He's had several seasons of a hit show, he's considered running for president in the past and may be considering that again, and he owns a lot of real estate. But, is he really that big?

These pictures put largeness - and smallness - in perspective.

(H/T: LaShawn Barber)

why I may have to start watching "24"

Unless you live like some Mennonites, several German Baptists, and a few others who eschew the idiot box also known as television (if you're Amish, you eschew electricity altogether, and you're probably not even reading this blog), you've no doubt heard of the (supposedly) engaging show 24. I say supposedly because, well, it hasn't engaged me. I'm not exactly particular about TV shows, mind you - even though Survivor is going through it's umpteenth season, I'll still be there every Thursday night to see who gets voted off.

24 just hasn't captured my attention. I've nothing against Keifer Sutherland, who plays the hero Jack Bauer. Some people have even compared Jack to Jesus Christ, which is stretching it to put it extremely mildly. I guess I'm put off by the tenseness that the show appears to exude. Now, I've only watched portions of a few episodes, so I can't truly make any blanket statement about the show as a whole. But, I can only take tension for two hours at the most, which is about as long as a typical movie lasts. I can't take it for a full hour, once a week, for twenty-four weeks - this is exactly what I perceive 24 would give me.

However, I have been given reason to pause and reflect on my conscious decision to avoid watching 24. I have heard report that actress Regina King will be joining the cast next season. The pop culture mag Entertainment Weekly calls her "glorious and underutilized," and I think that description is exactly right. I first noticed Regina in 227, one of my favorite TV shows from the past. She played my favorite character in this movie and in this one. Perhaps her best performance was as Ray Charles' lover Margie Hendricks in Ray, and it's a shame she wasn't nominated for an Oscar (she did receive the NAACP Image Award for this role).

I may just have to turn in to Fox TV in the fall...

Somewhat unrelated: Speaking of TV shows that star Marla Gibbs (like 227), did you know that Isabel Sanford, who played wife Weezie Jefferson to Sherman Hemsley's George Jefferson on The Jeffersons, was over twenty years older than Hemsley? He was born in 1938, she in 1917. Hemsley was recently on a season of The Surreal Life, but Sanford passed on in 2004. If you watched The Surreal Life, you'll know that Hemsley is the complete opposite of his George Jefferson character.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"We don't have clones we can interview - but we do have identical twins."

Scientists speculate that cloned humans would deem themselves to be "individuals."

Scientists drew their conclusions after interviewing identical twins about their experiences of sharing exactly the same genes with somebody else. The team said the twins believed their genes played a limited role in shaping their identity. The UK/Austrian research will shortly be published in the journal of Social Science and Medicine.

Co-author Dr Barbara Prainsack, from the University of Vienna, Austria, who worked with Professor Tim Spector, from the Twins Research Unit, St Thomas' Hospital, London, said: "The birth of Dolly the sheep triggered many questions about what it would be like to be a clone. We don't have clones we can interview - but we do have identical twins." (BBC)

I believe I know what Dolly would say to all this: "Baa, baaa, baaa, baaaa, baa!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm not a nerd. this proves it

See? No matter what anyone says, I know I'm not a nerd....

I am nerdier than 9% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

(H/T: Doulogos)

Why does it say that I despise nerds? I don't despise anyone, least of all nerds. Tolerate, yes; despise, no.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Two new shows

I have done something this week that is a genuine rarity: I've watched shows this week that don't have the words lost or c.s.i. or survivor in their names. One show is a new series on the Food Network, and the other show is the third season of a breakout hit on Bravo.

Road Tasted, Food Network

Paula Deen's sons, Jamie and Bobby, are the hosts of this show. As the title suggests, the two brothers travel around from state-to-state, looking for unique places to eat. (Two of the show's original titles were Two for the Road and Good To Go.) Road Tasted is very similar in style to two other shows on the channel, Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels and Food Finds. On RRTT, Rachael visits several restaurants in specific cities (e.g., Atlanta, Boston) or locations (e.g., central California), offering her opinions on the quality and affordability of the food. On FF, Sandra Pinckney looks for specialty foods in small-town stores, restaurants and vendors; she offers information on how to order products as well. Road Tasted seems to be a blend of these two shows, or at least it does in the first episode, which was filmed in northern California. The brothers ate wine-grape pie in Napa Valley, sampled taffy on the Santa Cruz boardwalk, and tasted cioppino at Phil's Fish Market. New episodes of the show air on Tuesdays at 10:00 PM.

The brothers are very likeable (yet, they are borderline annoying), they interact well with each other and the people they meet. However, I'm not sure how this show stands apart from the two from which it seems to take its cues: RRTT and FF. Do we really need another travelling food show, especially since it seems Alton Brown will soon air one?

Some links about the Deen boys:

Project Runway 3, Bravo

The third edition of PR kicked off last night at 10:00PM, with a casting special that preceded it. The casting special was fun to watch, especially seeing the contestants who were told to leave before they could show their clothes. The first episode gave a great design challenge: the contestants were to trash their apartment, searching for materials to use for their first gown. Kate Spade was one of the judges (my wife received her black baby bag is a shower gift when The Cute was born). It's hard to tell who to root for at this point, but I will definitely not be rooting for Malan - Malan Breton.

Some links:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Barnard Hughes

Actor Barnard Hughes, winner of the Emmy and Tony awards, died at the age of 90 (here).

Hughes died Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said Chris Boneau, a spokesman for Hughes’ family.

The actor, along with wife Helen Stenborg, were veterans of the New York stage. Hughes made his Broadway debut in “Herself Mrs. Patrick Crowley” in 1935, but it was “Da,” some 43 years later that made him a star and won him the best-actor Tony. He also starred in the 1988 film version of the Tony-winning play. (MSNBC)

I know of Hughes mostly by his role as "Grandpa" in the film The Lost Boys. The Lost Boys is one of those classic '80s films, much like The Breakfast Club and Say Anything. It's a keynote movie for several reasons: it's a combination of comedy and horror; it features the first - and best - pairing of "the Coreys" (Haim and Feldman); it was the first big role for Kiefer Sutherland (even though he was in Stand by Me, that film didn't put him on the map like Lost Boys).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"You want to have gay sex? Be a female bishop? Change God's name to Sophia? Go ahead."

This piece by Charlotte Allen, on the effects of liberalism in the church, is really quite marvelous.

Even Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, thought so.

ESV "To Do" Bible

At his most excellent blog Purgatorio, Marc Heinrich has given a good example of how to use the ESV Journaling Bible.

Marc lists two of his favorite movies as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Big Trouble in Little China. Ahhh.... a man after my own heart.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blogger gets house by trading from red paper clip

This story is from the "Why didn't I think of that" files.

Taking a paper clip and turning it into a house sounds like a cheesy magic trick or a phony instance of resourcefulness on the 1980s TV show "MacGyver."

Kyle MacDonald, however, has pulled it off.

One year ago, the 26-year-old blogger from Montreal set out to barter one red paper clip for something and that thing for something else, over and over again until he had a house. (MSNBC)
(Picture by David Boily/AP)

Michael Moore's "Sicko"

I belonged to the G.O.P. for many years. My parents are both Republicans, but neither vote straight down the party line. Although I don't know for sure, I believe that all my siblings and their spouses are Republican, or at least Republican-sympathetic. With the exception of her maternal grandfather, The Wife's family votes Republican.

After several years of disillusionment with elephants, I switched sides and joined with donkeys back in 1999. We were living in Indianapolis at the time (our first time living in Indiana, actually), and the mayoral race was gearing up. I didn't like what I saw of the Republican ticket, so I voted Democratic in the primary. Thus, I became a Democrat. The Wife did the same thing as well, but in 2004 she switched back with the Republicans while I did not. So, I remain a Democrat - not because of a conscious decision to do so, but out of pure laziness, really.

Okay, it's a little more than laziness. I'm in the mental health field, which has historically found more sympathy from Democratic party policies. I can't ignore that. I also opposed the Iraq War initially and continue to do so, and many more Democrats than Republicans agree with me on this. BUT - I'm not exactly joining with Jim Wallis and all the Sojourners (not you, Brad W.) in thinking that the government is the second coming of Christ.

I wrote all this to say: since I'm a Democrat and a thinking person, I can't really ignore Michael Moore. I think he's full of himself and I think he manipulates facts to present his own theories. However, he can't be just swept under some rug - it's like when Alex Forrest tells Dan Gallagher, "I'm not going to be ignored, Dan."

I'm anxious, though, to see his latest movie Sicko. The movie is supposed to focus on healthcare and its discontents. Moore gave an update on the movie in his most recent letter to his devotees (which I am not, BTW, but I do peruse his site once in a while).

Nurse practitioners

Thinking of changing careers? If you're a "caring" person and you're in a "helping" profession, then becoming a nurse practitioner may be just the thing...
Nurse practitioners first appeared about 40 years ago in pediatrics, and quickly expanded into obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, and adult primary care.

They can perform many of the duties of primary care doctors such as performing physical exams, diagnosing and treating common health problems, prescribing medications, ordering and interpreting X-rays, and providing family planning services. (Indy Star)
It certainly has me thinking.

Related: Hospitals emphasizing nurse training to fill vacancies


To you, Italy!

To you, Roger Federer! (Four Wimbledons in a row! Amazing!)

To you, Amelie Mauresmo! ("Nervous" no more...)

Kos, "the Keyboard Kingpin"

Kos, the biggest Democratic blogger of them all (sit down, Atrios! You're only a Mortal Human!), seems to have a new foe in David Brooks, writer for the New York Times and author of one of my favorite books that I've read this year, On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense. Brooks wrote an article highly critical of Kos in the June 25 issue of the Times, titled "Respect Must Be Paid."

Brooks had more to say about Kos on last Friday's "NewsHour." Noel Sheppard provides the link to the video and adds some commentary of his own (here).

Sunday, July 9, 2006

At the water table

The Sweet (the older daughter) and The Cute take time to check out the "Playscape" section of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The Cute really enjoyed her time here. It worked out well that no other children were around at the time, because they would have been splashed with water.

Some bold words

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and author of Confessions of a Reformission Rev, gave an interview to Christianity Today.

A tasty morsel:
The two hot theologies today are Reformed and emerging. Reformed theology offers certainty, with a masculine God who names our sin, crushes Jesus on the Cross for it, and sends us to hell if we fail to repent. Emerging theology offers obscurity, with a neutered God who would not say an unkind word to us, did not crush Jesus for our sins, and would not send anyone to hell.


These numbers on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art make me think of time, for some reason. Maybe it's because two numbers put together - "38", "29" - look like someone's age.

Psalm 62:8 - "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah."

the "recent" big story I have no interest in bloggin' about

This. The whole Star-Barbara "feud."

If you want to do it, Jan, you go right ahead.


That's how much Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest took in on its opening day on Friday, July 7.

It made that much on a single day. Not the whole weekend, which would be impressive enough. A single day.

The movie with the second highest opening day tally is last year's blockbuster Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. It made $50,000,000. Apparently, people were more eager to see the return of Jack Sparrow than they were to see the "birth" of Darth Vader.

Update: POTC:DMC had the biggest opening weekend ever. $134 mill.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Crawling through a tunnel...

Do you ever feel like this?

You're in a tunnel. You've come too far to turn back, but you can't see the light ahead. You feel torn, confused... What do you do?

Visiting Indy's Children's Museum

Several weeks ago, The Wife's place of business had an evening outing to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The CMI is the largest children-oriented museum in the country, and it is certainly one of the many bright spots in the city. (The first thing that usually comes to people's minds when they hear 'Indianapolis' is this.) We renewed our family membership, so we've been to CMI several times already. However, this night was particularly enjoyable because the outing was held after the museum had closed to the public, so only people from The Wife's place of business were allowed. It was nearly like having the museum to ourselves, and I can't tell you how absolutely pleasurable our time there was.

Here's a shot of The Wife and The Sweet sauntering up the ramp to the third level:

What you see on the left side of the picture is part of Dale Chihuly's Fireworks of Glass, the largest permanent blown glass sculpture. The tower is 43 feet tall and has over 3200 pieces of glass. You can see the whole tower here.

Let's take a closer look at the tower:

Beautiful, isn't it? It's pretty seeing it in a picture, but it's much more impressive when viewed in person. I'm stunned by Chihuly's talent and creativity. He doesn't do this alone, of course; he has a team that assists him.

You can access Chihuly's personal website from here.

Just so you know: There's a sign in the museum which reads that a person is allowed to take pictures of his work for educational or non-commercial purposes.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Senator/Former-First-Lady isn't part of "Washington Establishment" ???

I read David Sirota's blog from time to time. He's much less crazy/volatile than Kos and his Kossacks, and Sirota usually has some intriguing and on-point things to say.

Sometimes, he says things like this (on his blog here):
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) today said that, unlike some other senior Democrats, she is going to support the will of Democratic primary voters, and support the winner of the Democratic Party primary in Connecticut between turncoat Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-CT) and challenger Ned Lamont (D-CT). She should get a lot of credit for coming out and making this announcement. Yes, I know - it is a pretty low bar to give Democratic Senators credit for saying they will support the Democratic Party Senate nominees. But the dynamic of this race is shaping up to be the Washington Establishment vs. The Rest of Us and Clinton is firmly taking the side of The Rest of Us. That’s a good thing, and a major step forward for her. She should be applauded and, moving forward, she should be encouraged to continue in this kind of direction in other policy areas.

Read it and notice this bizarre sentence: "But the dynamic of this race is shaping up to be the Washington Establishment vs. The Rest of Us and Clinton is firmly taking the side of The Rest of Us." (emphasis and italacs are obviously mine)

Apparently, Sirota believes that Senator Clinton isn't acting as part of the Washington Establishment when she says I'm only supporting nominated Democrats. Even though she's been active in her husband's political life for many years, even though she was First Lady for eight years, even though she's been the junior senator from New York for six years now and she wants to keep that job.... She says she won't support Senator Lieberman if he fails to win the Democratic primary race, and suddenly she's part of The Rest of Us????

Sorry, David, but that's like saying "W" campaigned in 2000 as a political outsider. It just doesn't make any sense.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

This flag was painted on the side of a building in Broad Ripple, north of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Can Starbucks bring happiness?

Apparently in Kandahar it can.
"I wait so eagerly for the coffee shop to open every evening so I can meet my friends," said one, Abdullah Shehwar. "It is so wonderfully quiet and only the educated come here. We can talk to our heart's content."


Coffee houses as places to exchange thoughts and ideas. What an utterly old idea.

Especially for my friends at the V.B.T.

Read this and tell me what you think.

I'm not saying that everything written in the article is accurate. All I'm wondering is, what evidence shows that the King James Version of the Bible is the only version of the Bible? If you're going to make such a strong statement, you better have some good evidence.

"I’ve spent much of my youth and adult life being embarrassed by Christians."

Pastor John Hay argues that if you're going to call yourself a Christian, you need to act like Jesus Christ. Read more here.
Quite a few Christians have given up on being like Jesus. They are settling for respectable religion. Many are getting into culture Christianity, which is, in fact, civil religion--and insidiously idolatrous. Others unwittingly use Christianity and the church to maintain family traditions and “values” without being measurably moved by the call to radical faith. And in myriad ways folks keep trying to fit Jesus into their secular lifestyles, world-shaped agendas, family plans, career interests, personal priorities, and unholy purposes. None of this reflects the Jesus of Scriptures or the costly grace that makes godliness in this life possible, clear, and accessible. For all our resignation or misguiding, the Scriptures nonetheless describe Christlikeness or godliness (use these terms interchangeably) as the way and the goal of being fully human.

He concludes with four questions to answer:

1. "What have I done intentionally in the past 7 days that reflects the character of Jesus Christ?"

2. "What am I doing/can I do with purpose and discipline each week that cultivates Christlikeness in me?"

3. "How am I challenging or countering the routines, influences, messages, and patterns that tend to squeeze me into the world’s mold?"

4. . "Am I ready and willing to put myself in the places where God’s grace can form me into the likeness of Jesus?"

"You would do far more good if you just preached the gospel of Jesus rather than trying to get rid of Third World debt relief."

Stephen Baldwin has a point. Giving food and drink to those in need is a physical manifestation of the Gospel. You are helping those in need, which is essentially what Christ did for us. We have a need for reconciliation with God because of our sin - Christ became that reconciliation for us.

If you give food and drink to those in need but do not also preach to them the Good News of Christ's work of salvation, have you truly helped them in the light of eternity?

Instapundit wore an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy, yellow polka-dot....

I thought Glenn Reynolds ran his website as a "family friendly" place. If he in fact does, he seems to have forgotten it with this post.

Be warned. Don't look.

I told you.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Making a living in Yap

You get paid in stones. Imagine how big the purses Prada would have to make to sell there.

I know what you're thinking: how does a straight man know about Prada? I'm married, don't forget. The Wife knows her fashion when it comes to accessories. Not that we have tons of cash to spend on them, mind you - she just knows how to read magazines.